Husband accused of running Cheltenham brothels 'can't raise bail'
A HUSBAND accused of running brothels in Cheltenham with his wife has been unable to raise £20,000 bail money, a court has heard.
Barry Champion, 33, of Berkeley Street, off Cheltenham's High Street, was last week granted bail by Judge Jamie Tabor on condition he has two sureties of £10,000.
But at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday his solicitor Lloyd Jenkins said he was still in custody because the financial backing for bail could not be found.
"He is a man of good character, in employment and with local community ties," said Mr Jenkins, "But Judge Tabor wanted two sureties of £10,000 each.
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"His parents do not have that sort of liquid money to pledge. This puts him in a difficult position."
He said he might make a new bail application to judge Tabor next week to explain the problem.
Judge William Hart, who presided at the preliminary hearing, formally revoked bail and remanded Mr Champion in custody pending a new bail application.
Mr Champion and his wife Ailing Zhuang, 41, also of Berkeley Street, are accused of conspiring to operate brothels in the town between Jan 1 2009 and Sept 13 2012.
The pair were arrested and charged earlier this month following police raids on two flats in Pittville Lawn and Suffolk Road.
Around 50 officers carried out simultaneous raids in the affluent areas of Cheltenham.
Zhuang came to Britain from China in 2007 and married her husband in 2008. They have one son. It is alleged Zhuang, who has been refused bail, went by the name Zoe to rent the house in Suffolk Road.
It is also alleged that Champion acted as a taxi driver, taking girls from the brothel to addresses to have sex with clients.
At yesterday's hearing Zhuang, wearing a grey sweatshirt and with her hair tied back in a pony tail, was assisted by a Chinese Mandarin interpreter.
Mr Champion, who has short thinning brown hair and a beard, wore a dark blue polo shirt.
Judge Hart set a timetable for future progress of the case. He told the couple they will have to return on December 7 for a plea and case management hearing and he said the trial would start on February 25 next year.